Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Our local business community

In Sydney, David used to belong to a few different local business groups. The best was undoubtedly Northern Beaches Business SWAP, a group of terrific people who met every Tuesday morning for the purposes of education, motivation and sharing their experience. Networking and business referrals happened by default. As members got to know and did business with each other, trust led to business recommendations. The community and camaraderie proved invaluable to small business owners who often had no-one to discuss their ideas and concerns with.

While ensuring that his clients in Sydney are still looked after, David has been working on starting up and growing his business I Hate My PC here in the Huon Valley. In a smaller community, word of mouth and contacts become even more important. But David found that there weren’t any business groups in the area that met regularly and provided these kinds of opportunities. We have been to a couple of ‘opportunity nights’ dinners run by the Kingborough Community Enterprise Centre (KCEC) in the neighbouring council area to us, which were excellent but only run quarterly. So David started talking to the local Business Enterprise Centre based in Huonville about the possibility of running regular business breakfasts with speakers and networking opportunities. The first few meetings and workshops were very well attended and feedback positive. Yours truly spoke at one of the breakfasts about PR ideas for small businesses. We know first hand that the contacts made have already generated business for local people, including our friend Sheree Brennan, a professional real estate and commercial photographer from Open2View.

Last night we went to the first ‘opportunity night’ run by the Huon Valley Business Enterprise Centre, held at the beautiful Home Hill winery in Ranelagh. Almost 80 people attended, a great credit to Scott Dufty from the BEC, the KCEC and David for organising and promoting it. TasmaNet used the occasion to launch their new business grade wireless internet services in the local area. The main speaker was Rosemary Bennett, owner of Home Hill and our host for the evening. She told us of the journey in getting the winery and restaurant to where it is today, including its many ups and downs. If you’re in business in the Huon Valley and Channel area, make sure you come along to the next one. And if you want to get on the mailing list for information about upcoming meetings, email the Huon Valley BEC.

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